Beautiful game could flourish in SAR

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, 12:00am

So the inept guardians of the people's game have virtually brought about the demise of professional football in Hong Kong. Their utterances throughout the years have highlighted their profound lack of understanding of football and the public they claim to serve.

It is salutary to consider that the combined populations of English cities Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham do not add up to that of Hong Kong, yet they sustain a host of professional and semi-professional teams.

I accept that there are cultural differences. However, they do not account for the abject failure of those in authority to develop a structure that allows the game to grow and flourish.

The SAR has a plethora of recently constructed stadiums providing enviable facilities for spectators and players but which are woefully underused, a flourishing schools league and a population that is, contrary to the bleating of the Hong Kong Football Association, interested and enthusiastic. The ingredients are in place to establish a league based on districts, with teams sporting the name of the area in which their ground is based.

This would certainly stimulate local interest and loyalty and kick into touch the concept that professional teams must bear the often-ridiculous brand name of their sponsor - Instant Dict for example.

Enticing 'B' grade teams from the mainland is palpably not the answer and a retrograde step. Our priority must be to resuscitate the game within the SAR by developing a competitive league which will enhance the profile of the game and allow us, on merit, to apply for entry into the proposed China Super League in 2004.